9.4.10 - 9.6.10 87 °F
We didn't make any of the all-night dance parties on the beach that Goa is known for... but thanks to $4 scooters, Goa is amazing!
We arrived in India near the end of its monsoon season. Most tourists don't start flocking to Goa until October (peak season begins in December) so the three of us white girls walking onto a beach is like a strolling gold mine for the Indian peddlers. Yesterday I found myself overwhelmed for the first time. I was unprepared for the onslaught of solicitors. Though I could have come out worse, I did end up with a handful of black henna I didn't want in the first place. It's quite lovely when examined at close range, but from a distance it's a scary black glove. (Lemon is supposed to remove the henna, but a 10 minute scrub with a lime made no progress today... so I'm doubtful that any citrus would have much diminishing power.) While the henna was being drawn on, a girl planted herself at my feet, introduced herself, and proceeded to adorn my toes with rings and lay piles of sarongs over my legs. I chatted with her for so long I began to feel committed (newbie that I am) and finally gave her 100 rupees ($2) just to not feel like a bad person.
This morning we rented two scooters! SO FUN! Swhite tried one but felt too wobbly, so she rode behind Brie. There's not much going on in each town, but zipping between all the little oceanside villages was exhilirating! We had fun honking our wee scooter horns. The honking definitely serves a purpose, notifying people that you're about to pass or are approaching around a tight corner. And of course there's the honk to say hello.
First we went to Baga, the town just south of Anjuna. The shore was crowded with Indians wading into the waves and lounging on beach chairs. We walked along the water to find a less populated spot. Within seconds we were surrounded by sales people and 3 Indian wrestlers in speedo-sized undies. It was hilarious because they were so brash, and when we were sitting on the sand their waistline hung a couple feet from our raised eyebrows.
We noticed a shift in the sky: insta-rain. We started to sprint toward the covered restaurants and made it only halfway before the downpour began. Sudden sprinting is always fun, it's an adrenaline rush and laugh-worthy every time. I'm definitely glad that we're here for some of the monsoon season. The mad dash to escape the buckets of water is a communal event. We can't speak Hindi, but we can hide from the rain together!
The women trying to sell us their wares have been commenting on our skin color. Our favorite comparison so far is that Sarah and I are "white like prized chickens" while the sun tanned Brie is "brown like chocolate". I also had someone try to match a brown dress to the color of my freckles.
We decided to give ourselves trip names. After my new pants (called Ali Baba pants) I am Meli Baba. Sarah is Chara (the Indian version of her name) and thanks to Gabrielle's chocolate colored skin she is Koko.
It's Sunday night and we were all ready for bed when there was a knock at the door. An Australian high on horse tranquilizers came in, killed a crab-sized spider on the wall, and has been sitting here telling us stories about his last 3 months of travel in India. It's making me think that we only have 6 1/2 weeks left and we should be getting going... if only we knew how... Our Mumbai hostel owner booked our bus down, and because it's off season there don't seem to be many buses or trains going out. Tomorrow will be interesting.